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Maori art at the Otago Museum in Dunedin

good sign of life balance. In the medical profession, we often have a hard time putting our lifestyle prescriptions into practice, but not caring about our carbon footprint as we exit from a take-out restaurant with our meal in a Styrofoam container and plastic bag, not being able to reduce waste based on the excuse that we are working long shifts is an indication that this is not 12

Sierra Sacramento Valley Medicine

a healthy rhythm (for us, for our patients, and for the planet) to begin with. Medicine is full of opportunities to reduce waste as well and we should encourage “bring your (reusable) bottle or mug” meetings instead of providing plastic bottles, for instance. We should advocate for work spaces with windows and access to greenery, natural light and breaks to get fresh air outside throughout the day. During our daily walks (we hiked on average of 4-6 hours per day in various areas on the South Island among the 3,500 km of road travel), I felt so energized, with the feeling I could have walked even more. I should thank the phytoncides, these fragrances emitted by plants and trees, apparently known to decrease inflammation while boosting our mood and immune system. Instead of being in a complaining mode, I decided to let myself admire and be inspired by what other parts of the world are doing well or better. Change will happen incrementally, but we can try to do something every day for our world and it doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, one of the sustainability principles is “enoughness,” and I was content with our reusable jute bags bought at the grocery store as a legitimate souvenir from New Zealand. They are not only “wholesome” and rustic, but they will bring such good memories while I can continue to use them in our life here. Indeed, we were building precious memories together. I often try to imagine what it is like for our kids to see their parents rush in the morning to go give a talk or come late at night to sit down for yet another “shift” in front of a laptop to finish notes. But instead of that frantic routine, they finally saw me not caring about wearing the same pair of leggings (so comfy and perfect travel clothes, by the way) three days in a row or repeating “Dunedin” until my oldest, with the overconfidence that comes from entering the pre-teen phase, swore I had no idea how to pronounce it (none of us did, really). We enjoyed teasing each other about our respective neuroses. I journaled like I usually do, with the added flavour of being out in the open, among boulders, in the forest or inside a boat on Doubtful Sound when it was raining, or coming back from a glowworm cave expedition, my head full of those rosary-like chandelier beads produced by those surreal worms, as bright as the ecstatic Milky Way we got to smile at, the moon with its pearl head upside down in the opposite side of the world, taking in a wholesome landscape of harmony to create a brighter future.

Profile for Sierra Sacramento Valley Medical Society

2019-Jul/Aug - SSV Medicine  

Sierra Sacramento Valley Medicine is the official journal of the Sierra Sacramento Valley Medical Society (SSVMS) and promotes the history,...

2019-Jul/Aug - SSV Medicine  

Sierra Sacramento Valley Medicine is the official journal of the Sierra Sacramento Valley Medical Society (SSVMS) and promotes the history,...